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Friday, 7 October 2011

Noughties 2003: A Tale of Two Discos

My look back at the Noughties continues over at Weaponizer, this time it's 2003 in the mix:

As is inevitable with any emerging scene the press were quick to lump in other acts that happened to share similar stylistic tics. Bands who existed long before DFA like !!! and Radio4 started to gain attention for being punk-funky, and sometimes these bands cemented apparent ties within this world with remixes or collaborative efforts. Across the pond the already well-established producer Trevor Jackson's Playgroup project, which had mined very similar territory two year earlier, was re-released in expanded form. Playgroup never quite hit the commercial peaks that were expected of them, but they were a definite critical and journalistic success.

Most important in defining and disseminating the dance-punk aesthetic in the early days was a free mix CD given away with the now defunct Muzik magazine collecting the best of the DFA /remixes and productions with a smattering of the other acts that fell into a similar bracket. The CD was mixed by the venerable Tim Sweeney of the Beats In Space radio show, and DFA would go on to repeat this trick with their own commercially available mixes and compilations.

Yet despite low rumblings and high praise among the cooler kids, like most revivalist scenes, it felt like the impetus for punk-funk was coming from the media and a few key taste makers rather than than the public. It's important to understand the context as to why that would be so. It wasn't just the ebbing tides of fashion that washed punk-funk back up on the beach - along with whole swathes of the press in general, dance music publications were having a hard time in the early part of the Noughties. The aforementioned Muzik magazine and my own personal favourite publication, Jockey Slut, were floundering and would eventually close for good. The superstar dj, Ibiza and day-glo trance bubbles of the late Nineties had burst and the perceived interest of popular culture was shifting away from dance and back towards more traditional indie and guitar music. Taking pills and going to raves just wasn't as exciting as it had been 4 or 5 years before. Clothes had gone from being outrageously baggy to being skinny fit. Day-glo and baby soothers were out and black leather and snakebite was in.

Read the whole piece here.

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